"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Call of Samuel
1 Samuel 3:1-21 Commentary
by Beth L. Tanner
The story of God's people continues, and again time has passed.
The wilderness lessons are over, and the people have settled into the land God promised Abraham (Genesis 12:1, 15:7, 17:8). After Joshua, the Israelites are led by a series of judges who rise up in difficult times. As the book of Judges comes to an end, tribal wars threaten to tear the people apart. The promised land is not easy and without conflict.
This book opens not in the halls of power, but in the house of a man who is remembered only here. Elkanah is married to two women, and Hannah, his favorite, is barren. Hannah begs God for a child and during her prayer encounters the priest, Eli, who is less than comforting, accusing the praying woman of being drunk! Despite this initial encounter, Eli tells Hannah that her prayer will be answered. Hannah has her long-awaited child, does as she promised, and gives the child to the Lord; so the boy, Samuel, remains with Eli at the holy place in Shiloh. This is how Samuel comes to be with Eli.
This family structure may appear strange or even ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 095: Call of Samuel
October 13, 2013
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers texts for Oct. 13, 2013: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 (corresponding Gospel: John 20:21-23).